South Carolina basketball coach Lamont Paris is leading one of the hottest teams in the country right now. The Gamecocks have five games in a row, including three road games against Arkansas, Georgia, and #5 Tennessee and two home games against Missouri and 6th-ranked Kentucky. Despite some in the national media still disrespecting the team, the narrative is shifting toward "This Gamecock squad is really good."
The CourtCocks are also the biggest surprise of the college basketball season. Coming off of an 11-21 campaign last year (and losing the only 5-star talent on the roster as GG Jackson was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies), USC was picked by the SEC media to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the Southeastern Conference this year.
Right now, sitting at 19-3 and 7-2 in league play, South Carolina basketball is in 2nd place in the SEC, and they are almost a lock for the NCAA Tournament. With Monday's AP poll release, the Gamecocks cracked the top-25 for the first time since the 2016-2017 season when they made the Final Four, coming in ranked as the 15th-best team in the land.
ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, has been impressed by the Fighting Quarter Zips. Jeff Borzello, in his weekly power rankings and awards, named the Gamecocks the national Team of the Week for the second week in a row. They also slotted in as the 15th-ranked team in his weekly national power rankings.
Coach Paris' team is favored to win on Tuesday at home over a good Ole Miss squad (who is also ranked), and then they play the lowly Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday.
Don't look now, South Carolina basketball fans, but there is a real chance that your favorite team will sneak their way into the top-10 ahead of a ranked road matchup with the also-potentially-top-10 Auburn Tigers in just over a week.
What a difference a year makes.